COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In just four weeks since President Bush issued a federal disaster declaration for the Ohio flooding this spring, federal assistance is approaching $16 million, it was announced today by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA).
At the close of business Wednesday, 7,858 housing assistance grants totaling $9,826,025 had been approved. Another 5,993 grants totaling $3,921,507 have been approved to meet other disaster-related needs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 135 low-interest disaster loans totaling $2,023,700.
FEMA has completed 29,178 inspections of homes where flood and storm damage was reported.
To date, 30,913 people have registered for assistance by calling the FEMA toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment. Both lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except the July 4th holiday.
“If your home was damaged or destroyed by the flooding, and you’re in a declared county, you may be eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program,” said Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery. “If you had damage, call your insurance agent and then call FEMA if you need to start the assistance process.”
Residents of the 21 counties included in the disaster declaration have until August 2 to register for aid. Eligible counties are Athens, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Geauga, Guernsey, Hocking, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Noble, Perry, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas. The disaster declaration covers damage incurred between May 18 and June 21.
Grants from the Individual Assistance Program can be used for temporary disaster housing assistance; repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe, sanitary and functional condition; and replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
The SBA has issued 13,579 loan applications to homeowners, renters and business owners. Officials urge applicants to complete their loan paperwork as soon as possible, even if they have not received a final settlement from their insurance company. If the loan application is not returned it will delay or prevent receiving other forms of disaster assistance.
SBA offers loans up to $200,000 to repair disaster damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture and clothing. Loans to businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations are available up to $1.5 million to repair damage to real estate, machinery and equipment, and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are also available to small businesses unable to pay bills or meet operating expenses.
The Ohio EMA coordinates State assistance and resources during an emergency and prepares the state for all hazards through planning, training, exercises and funding activities at the state and local level. This includes providing assistance to individuals and administering state and federal assistance to individuals and governmental entities recovering from disaster-related damage and costs. Ohio EMA coordinates homeland security funding, weapons of mass destruction training, anti-terrorism planning and training, and assists local and state agencies determine homeland strategies and priorities.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEM...